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Italian police arrest dozens including mayor over mafia links


19:34, July 12, 2013

ROME, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Italian police on Friday detained dozens of people throughout Italy suspected of having links with mafia including a mayor and five of his councilors.

According to local reports, 38 people were arrested in the regions of Calabria, Puglia, Basilicata, Umbria and Campania in a major probe into vote-buying and contract-rigging.

The arrested included the mayor of the Calabrian town of Scalea, Pasquale Basile, and five of his councilors, suspected of buying votes and granting lucrative contracts to members of Ndrangheta, the powerful local mafia that has laid down roots in Italy's wealthier northern regions.

During the operation, police seized 60 million euros (78 million U.S. dollars) in assets, mainly in the central regions of Lazio and Umbria. Items included dozens of companies, properties, shops, plots of land, two yachts and more than 30 luxury cars. Police also froze more than 100 bank accounts and insurance policies.

Italian authorities have in recent months made a number of arrests and seized assets belonging to mafia syndicates throughout the country, and have dissolved various town councils in southern regions due to suspicions of being infiltrated by the mafia.

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